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Best pet water fountains: Keep your fur baby hydrated

Included in this guide:

Birman cat drinking out of one of the best pet water fountains
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Investing in one of the best pet water fountains will ensure your fur baby has a constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water – which cannot be guaranteed if you are refilling a bowl.

Many pet water fountains contain filtration systems which remove dust, debris and bacteria from your pet's drinking supply. This helps provide a safe source of fresh water, reducing the risk of your pet consuming something harmful as well as saving you time on washing dishes.

Just like us humans, your pet needs to drink plenty of water, so it's integral you provide them with a drinking source. Insufficient hydration increases the risk of your furry friend developing kidney problems or urinary tract infections. It's even more important to provide water if you're mainly feeding your canine or feline companions with the best dry cat food or the best dry dog food. Dried food contains very little moisture, meaning it is integral to provide water alongside your pets food bowls.

While you might not think a water fountain is essential if you are feeding your pet the best wet dog food or the best wet cat food, it's likely the moisture in their food still isn't enough to keep them in tip-top health. 

The main benefit to replacing your bowl with a pet fountains is that it will encourage your furry pal to take a drink. Both dogs and cats are attracted to running water and drinking from a fountain is a far more appealing water source, with the movement catching their eye and stimulating their inquisitive natures. 

What's more, running water also makes a sound and releases chemicals so even if the fountain isn't in sight, your furbaby is likely to sniff it out. Free-flowing water also stays cooler than stagnant H2O, making it even more attractive for your pet to take a drink from. You can also replace the water in a fountain less often because, like the best automatic pet feeders, they tend to hold much more water than a bowl. Since they're usually fairly heavy and bulky, water fountains tend not to be knocked over quite so easily either, meaning a lot less spillage and clean-up!

With all of that in mind, take a look at our list of the best pet water fountains available at the moment. We've taken into consideration how easy they are to clean, how noisy they are and how easy it is to find replacement filters – after all, there's nothing more frustrating than buying a machine with poor support!

PetsRadar's pick of the best pet water fountains

Pet water fountains: PetSafe Drinkwell 3.7 litre Pet Fountain product shot

(Image credit: Petsafe)

PetSafe Drinkwell 3.7 litre Pet Fountain

Best for capacity

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 3.7L
Designed for: Medium to large dogs
Filter: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+
One of the largest pet fountains available
+
Uses both a carbon and sponge filter
Reasons to avoid
-
Fiddly to clean
-
Some animals (and humans) could find the pump’s loud buzzing irritating 

This fountain is ideal for both medium-to-large dogs and large (or big-boned, to avoid offense) cats, and although there are fountains with higher capacities, this one strikes the perfect balance – it’s big enough to keep your pet hydrated for hours on end, but compact enough to allow furry friends to rehydrate without the risk of an accidental dunking. As with all fountains, its main selling point is the constant stream of water – in this case, a flow that can be customized depending on the preferences of your pet. The smooth, molded interior is easy to clean, although the same can’t be said for the pump, which (like any water fountain pump) needs to be cleaned regularly to remove any build-ups of saliva or fur – we recommend using a small wire brush for this one. Luckily, the combination of a sponge and carbon filter (which should ideally replaced once a month) does a great job of keeping the water clean and clear. 

Pet water fountains: PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Pet Fountain

(Image credit: Petsafe)

PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Pet Fountain

Best for appearance

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 1.5L
Designed for: Small dogs
Filter: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+
Attractive to look at
+
Easy to clean 
Reasons to avoid
-
Not suitable for larger dogs
-
Lightweight design makes it easy for animals to move accidentally 

A brilliant option for small dogs and cats, this day-glo water fountain is ideal for the style-savvy pet owner. To start with, its spout is topped with a model of a butterfly, and the retina-burning shade of turquoise offers a welcome alternative to the varying shades of grey used for many pet fountains. Four-legged friends won’t need to form an orderly queue, either – four water spouts make it easy for multiple animals to rehydrate simultaneously, although you can also pop off the butterfly topper to create a single water spout. Cleaning this fountain is also incredibly easy – simply take it apart and place the plastic pieces in the dishwasher. The pump needs a quick manual clean twice a month. 

Pet water fountains: Pioneer Pet Raindrop Plastic Pet Fountain

(Image credit: Pioneer)

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Plastic Pet Fountain - 1.8 litres

Best affordable pet water fountain

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 1.8L
Designed for: Small and medium-size dogs
Filter: Charcoal
Reasons to buy
+
A low profile means it won’t block cupboard doors or drawers
+
A wide, gentle water spout means less mess
Reasons to avoid
-
The pump can become noisy if the water isn’t topped up regularly 
-
The angle of the water flow might make access tricky for smaller animals 

Bring some harmony to your household with this pretty dog fountain, which has a yin and yang-inspired shape. The water spout is less like a fountain and more like a gentle trickle – instead of being ejected into the air, the water flows down a narrow channel into a generously-sized bowl. The downside is that the spout isn’t the most accessible one we’ve seen, especially for smaller dogs and cats. On the plus side, Pioneer Pet gets a gold star for the ease with which this can be assembled, as well as the super strong suction cups – nothing’s worse than a full-to-the-brim pet fountain sloshing its way across a kitchen floor.  

PETKIT Cybertail Pure Drink Water Fountain

(Image credit: Getty Images)

PETKIT CYBERTAIL Pure Drink Water Fountain

Best quiet pet water fountain

Specifications
Mains powered?: USB
Capacity: 1.85L
Designed for: Cats and small dogs
Filtration: Triple filtration system
Reasons to buy
+
Affordable
+
Triple filtration system
+
Ultra-quiet
Reasons to avoid
-
Requires a USB cable

Say hello to the classy and quiet Pure Drink pet fountain from PETKIT. With an almost silent pump that stays below 30db and low energy consumption, it’s the best fountain for 24/7 use.

With a circulation system that provides maximum oxygenation for fresher, tastier water and triple filtration to ensure the water is always clean and drinkable, this simplistic and stylish water fountain will be a hit with both your furkids and you.

The LED indicator light gives you a visual reminder of the fountain’s working status and there’s a choice of smart or normal modes. Available in three colors and powered with a USB cable, this model offers outstanding value for money. 

Pet water fountains: Petkit Smart Drinking Fountain product shot

(Image credit: Petkit)

Petkit Smart Drinking Fountain

Best for keeping water clean

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 2L
Designed for: Medium to large dogs
Filter: carbon
Reasons to buy
+
Timer function 
+
De-ionizing feature
Reasons to avoid
-
Bulky profile 
-
Unforgiving color scheme

A brilliant option for discerning doggies and cosseted cats, this hi-tech water fountain does it all – there are multiple settings (the one you’re most likely to settle on is smart mode, which works on a five-minute cycle, welling up every three minutes before a two-minute rest), a noise-minimizing pump (it produces less than 40db per 50cm radius) and what’s known as an ion-exchange resin, which helps to de-ionize the water. Whether your pet will notice this particular benefit remains to be seen, but two features which definitely earn this fountain some brownie points are the alerts – the light which appears when the filter needs changing, and the alarm which sounds when the water needs topping up.

Pet water fountains: PetSafe Current Pet Fountain Small product shot

(Image credit: PetSafe)

PetSafe Current Pet Fountain Small

Best for multiple pets

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 1.2L
Designed for: Small dogs
Filter: Charcoal
Reasons to buy
+
An ultra-quiet pump
+
Easily accessible 
Reasons to avoid
-
Not the prettiest of pet fountains 
-
Water pump positioning could be better

A great fountain for pets who need a little encouragement to drink enough water, but who might be unnerved by hi-tech fountains which flash, beep and vibrate, this minimalist model might not nab first place in the looks department, but it does what it says on the tin – ensuring your pet has an easily accessible, constant flow of filtered water. Its low profile and dog bowl-inspired shape are less likely to unsettle dogs and cats, although our one gripe is the positioning of the pump – despite the deepness of this fountain’s bowl, the hardware has been placed near the rim, which means you’ll need to keep a close eye on water levels to ensure it doesn’t run dry.

Pet water fountain: A black and white dog drinking from the Zeus Dog Drinking Fountain

(Image credit: Zeus)

Zeus Dog Drinking Fountain

Best for dogs with mobility issues

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 6L
Designed for: Large dogs
Filter: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+
Minimalistic styling 
+
Provides an incredibly easily accessible water source 
Reasons to avoid
-
Needs to be perfectly flat 
-
Hard to keep track of water level

This bucket-style fountain is great for larger dogs, especially ones with mobility issues. This is because the water isn’t emitted in the form of a vertical jet, but a gentle stream which swirls around the fountain’s raised platform, before draining away down the sides. In other words, there’s a constant, gently-swirling pool of water for pets to sip from, and with a six-liter capacity, you won’t need to refill it regularly. Which is especially handy with this model, because the one major downside is the inability to monitor water levels – unlike most water fountains, there’s no open bowl area, so you’ll only know when it’s time to refill once the water runs out.

Cat licking water from the CooZero pet fountain

(Image credit: Amazon)

CooZero Pet Fountain

Best for getting refill reminders

Specifications
Mains powered?: Yes
Capacity: 2 liters
Designed For: Cats and dogs
Filter: Yes
Reasons to buy
+
Prompts you to refill
+
Has a triple filtration system
+
Very quiet fountain
Reasons to avoid
-
Only comes with one filter

Pet water fountains don't need to be refilled or cleaned as regularly as a bowl but that doesn't mean you can leave them for days. With the CooZero Pet Fountain, you're alerted to the need to refill by an attractive glowing LED light situated inside the device. You will also know the fountain needs filling when the pump shuts off – this is an indication that the water has fallen below the lowest level. On top of that, you have an attractively designed fountain that lets you clearly see how much water is inside. Again, this helps to ensure that plenty of fresh, cool, clean water is able to flow around the system. With three different modes of flow – waterfall, flower bubble and gentle fountain – you can make adjustments to suit cats or dogs, while the triple filtration system comprising a non-woven fabric, coconut shell activated carbon and ion exchange resin keeps the water clean and fresh. It's also very quiet, performing its job at less than 40dB. It's a great little system.

How to choose the best pet water fountain

Although many water fountains for pets have similar features, our research proved that certain ones are invaluable – the best ones are easy to dismantle and clean, simply because it’s all too easy to underestimate the pump and filter-clogging capabilities of pet saliva, dander and fur. 

A device designed to keep water levels topped up also needs some level of stability. With lighter models, grip patches on the base will often be enough to keep the water fountain in place, but with heavier fountains, nothing beats a set of suction cups. 

It’s also important to bear in mind that the most common reason people invest in a pet fountain is because of the time it can save – constantly filling your pet’s bowl is thirsty work (excuse the pun). This is precisely why we suggest looking for features designed to save time and minimize stress levels, whether it’s an alarm which sounds when water levels need topping up, a light which indicates the need for a replacement filter, or design which can be easily broken down into dishwasher-proof pieces.

Tamara Hinson is a freelance writer who grew up with huskies but unfortunately now has a husband who is allergic to dogs. Luckily she has a neighbour who lets her dog-sit her Maltese terrier and a nearby greyhound rescue centre where she can walk the residents.